Visit East Tawas Michigan | Top 12 Fun Things to Do + Tawas Point State Park, Jaw-Dropping Lighthouse, Sparkling Marina, Camping, Lake Huron Beach, Birding/Hiking Trails, and Downtown Shopping

Experience the best of East Tawas Michigan | Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

If you consciously choose to EXPERIENCE a city rather than just visit it, you will take home so much more than just a fond memory. 

Enjoy the East Tawas region with the purposeful mindset of slowing down and enjoying the great outdoors.  I can easily spend a full day exploring, photographing and engaging in conversations with locals while enjoying this beautiful city.   

"The natural beauty of this area speaks for itself but the charming people that I met made this town a sparkling gem."

What Lake is East Tawas on? Lake Huron!

1. Stop at Gateway Park

Gateway Park is the first park you will see if you are arriving in Tawas City from the south.  The gorgeous views of Lake Huron is hard to miss!

It's worth taking the time to pull over, maybe meander around the beautiful curved rocky shoreline and take a few precious moments to relax under the shade trees.  

Gateway Park is home to the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market that operates on Saturdays. This pretty park is situated right along the water and has a swing set and and a small play area for kids. 

The covered pavilion is a great shady spot for lunches and the park has nice restrooms.  It's a great place to enjoy a packed lunch while watching the waves crash against the rocks! (which is exactly what I did!)  

2. Check out Shoreline Park, Too

Just a couple miles from Gateway Park is Shoreline Park.  This park has a covered pavilion and a short pier with grass and benches facing the water.  Enjoy a walk out on the pier for views of the beach and shoreline.  If you are hungry, Tony's Tacos has a small stand here. 

3. But Harbor Park is my Favorite...And You Will See Why!

"Harbor Park is my favorite one-stop spot for the marina, shopping, dining and relaxing."   Sherry

Upon arriving in East Tawas Michigan, be sure to park at Harbor Park.  It's definitely my favorite place to park as it is centrally located for the marina, shopping, dining and relaxing.

  • Harbor Park is located at the corner of Newman St. and West Bay Street (US 23).  Plus there is a nice large restroom...hey, it's super convenient to know these things!  If the gate is down the parking is only $1.  So park, jump out and start exploring!!  

Hungry?  Since you are parked at Harbor Park, you can't miss Pronto Pups, a cute little walk up serving yummy corn dogs and treats.  They are located right next to the boardwalk and the parking lot!  Enjoy your corn dog while watching the waves crash against the rocks!

4. Wander the Marina at Harbor Park

I highly recommend walking around the pretty and well maintained boardwalk to view the sparkling water, boats in the marina and numerous fisherman.  I love reading the boat names and picking out my favorite vessel.

People are friendly here so don't be afraid to ask the fishermen how the fishing is going.  I struck up a conversation with an elderly fisherman that was visiting from Alaska.  He was more than willing to share his fishing secrets and tell stories of the places he has visited.  We talked for about a half hour and I even watched him catch a golden perch!

I sat on the bench pictured below for quite some time to just take a moment and soak in the views from a stationary position.  Sometimes it's so easy for us to keep walking, moving and talking that we don't take time to 

Breathe, watch the seagulls, notice the smells, sounds and FEEL of the area.  Let it soak it in.  Take a moment to re-center.  You will be glad you did.  

Things to do Near Tawas

5. Explore Newman Street: The Fun Spot for Shopping, Dining and Snacking!

Newman Street is a beautiful shady tree lined street packed full of shopping, boutiques, tea shops, restaurants and a chocolate shop.  Be sure to stop at The Tea House for bubble tea or my personal favorite, iced chai tea.  

Hungry?  Mr Jack'ss Sports Bar & Grill has outside seating which is a must for me on a gorgeous day.  They have great ribs!  While talking to a local merchant, it was recommended I try Mangos Mexican Cusine and Tequila Bar for an excellent meal.

Shopping...Be sure to stop at The Ladies' Room, a fantastically curated women's clothing and accessory boutique located on Newman Street. I really enjoyed speaking with Lisa, the owner of this lovely shop.  She shared her inspiring entrepreneurial story  and that her shop had just opened in November of 2017. 

Lisa has a great sense of style and is so friendly and easy to talk to.  The shop is very colorful, hip and affordable.  

6. Hit the Beach at Tawas Point State Park!

686 Tawas Beach Rd

Now it's time to hit the beach!  Continue east on US-23 until you reach Tawas Beach Road.  Turn right onto this road and drive until you reach the entrance to the State Park. 

You will need a current Recreational Passport to enter the Tawas Point State Park.  You may also purchase one upon arrival. 

Hungry?  Tawas Point Grill has tons of options including burgers, fries, bbq and tacos.  Lots of drinks too. 

The great thing is that you can bring your own lunches and eat them in their large screened pavilion right near the beach.  Or you can enjoy The Grill's deck that overlooks the water and sand.  I spotted a couple grills so you can bring hot dogs and charcoal to create a fun meal.  

7. Go Camping at Tawas State Park!

Want to Camp?  See the image above with the campsite numbers and locations. The State Park offers traditional camping, a variety of cabins and a yurt.  Be sure to reserve your site as soon as possible by visiting here

8. Oh, and You Can Rent Kayaks To Explore the Shoreline!

Aching to get out on the water?  Rent kayaks and paddle boards from Tawas Bay Paddle Shack!  No time like the present to learn a new skill!! Plus, it's more fun than just sitting on the beach all day (I miiiiight have some family members that would argue with me about this...)

9. Wander Along the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail

As you head toward the lighthouse, you will pass the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail on your left.  

This trail runs parallel to the Sandy Hook Nature Trail.  When this trail ends just continue and head to your right to connect to the Sandy Hook Nature Trail. 

This trail highlights the largest continuous freshwater coaster wetland system in the United States and the birds that live there.  WOW!!!  Pretty Cool!

Bring your binoculars, water and comfortable walking shoes as this trail is not paved.

Best Birding Binoculars

Celestron – Nature, Outdoor and Birding Binoculars – Fog & Waterproof 

  • Top-rated glass optics: Fully multi-coated lenses for brighter images, more contrast and highest resolution with phase-coated BaK-4 prisms, 8x magnification power, and 6.5-foot close focus

Best Walking Shoe

The Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS Running Shoe is my absolute favorite walking/everyday shoe. I have had no less than 8 of these, starting with the GTS 18 until current (numbers go by the year). 

They are stable, lightweight, breathable, supportive and have a removable inserts so you can add your own.


10. Visit the Jaw-Dropping Tawas Point Lighthouse and Gift Shop

On the other side of the parking lot from the beach is the Lighthouse, gift shop and Sandy Hook Nature Trail.  The lighthouse offers tours at select times so I recommend stopping there before hitting the beach so you can plan your day and not miss the tour.

The lighthouse is simply stunning near sunset, the red and white colors are so striking!  I enjoy seeing this lighthouse in the afternoon and in the evening for a complete experience.

To the east of the Lighthouse is a paved path that leads to a pet friendly beach area and the campground.  Be sure to also visit the small gift shop that features books, clothing and gifts pertaining to the area.  

11. Hike the Tawas Point-Sandy Hook Nature Trail

686 Tawas Beach Rd

To the west of the Lighthouse is the Sandy Hook Nature Trail. To find the Sandy Hook Nature Trail, head toward the tiny white shack that is a porta-john.  As you pass the shack, you will see a wide trail that is a straight shot to the point. 

Just a few feet into the wide trail you will see a very narrow trail off to the right.  Take this narrow trail to follow along the coastline to the point.  

Note: The trail is narrow, sandy and at times wet.  Wear proper footwear for the 1.5 mile one way trek.  

This spectacular trail has stolen my heart.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.  I vowed after this last trip to visit at least twice a summer.  It has such a calming affect to the mind and soul as you walk past glorious grasslands, birch trees and ponds with happy floating ducks.  

Take your time, sit on a bench and watch the waves.  It's so calming.  

Upon reaching the tip you may spot windsurfers catching the waves.  Hundreds of birds rest on the sand spits offering you exquisite photographic opportunities. 

During the annual migrations, Tawas Point State Park is one of the hottest birding spots in the Midwest.

Tawas Point collects migrants moving along the coastline and concentrates them at the point. 

An amazing 301 species have been observed at this park! 

Spectacular transient shorebirds, gulls, waterfowl, songbirds, hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles attract birders from throughout North America during the spring and fall migrations.

12. Attend the Tawas Bay Waterfront Fine Art Festival

Tawas City Park, 407 W Bay St, East Tawas, MI 48730

Enjoy this event each August! Enjoy a wide variety of art while strolling through the grassy park!

Did you Know Oscoda and Lumberman's Monument is Nearby?

Can't Get Enough of East Tawas Michigan?

Here are more awesome ideas to fill your time while staying in the East Tawas Michigan area.  

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What Lake is East Tawas on? Not rated yet
Just wondered what lake East Tawas is on...also, is there a beach? Answer Hi John! East Tawas is on Lake Huron in Michigan. If you want to enjoy …

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Tawas City, Michigan

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

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We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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